Viktor Frankl - Experiences in a Concentration Camp

Divide by Zero

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I'm going to write in the swamp about what I found the anger to be from. It's helping me feel better as a person and I noticed that my anxiety/slight depression is gone.
It's connected to many of these things and explains it better without needing to argue individual things.
 

Tuatha de Danaan

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Having read all the amazing comments and advice above I have learned a great deal and feel I have enough food for thought to keep me going for the next week. Thank you all so much for taking the time to convey and reveal so much valuable information.
 

Turgon

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I'm going to write in the swamp about what I found the anger to be from.

It doesn't really matter where the anger is from. It could be any number of things from childhood to your job, a relationship, someone cutting you off on the highway, bad diet, lack of sleep, etc. What matters is how you respond to being angry and how identified you are with those emotions. Are you going to continue acting like an automaton that produces the same, predictable responses, or start getting a hold of yourself and being better able to guide and control your emotions?

It's helping me feel better as a person and I noticed that my anxiety/slight depression is gone.

You can be angry about a lot of things, but that doesn't give you the right to take it out on other people, which is what you frequently do.

It's connected to many of these things and explains it better without needing to argue individual things.

And that's part of the problem, the need to argue every individual thing. It's very tiresome and draining for other people to deal with someone like that.
 

Approaching Infinity

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It doesn't really matter where the anger is from. It could be any number of things from childhood to your job, a relationship, someone cutting you off on the highway, bad diet, lack of sleep, etc. What matters is how you respond to being angry and how identified you are with those emotions. Are you going to continue acting like an automaton that produces the same, predictable responses, or start getting a hold of yourself and being better able to guide and control your emotions?

Yes! My question was actually pretty bad. I shouldn't have asked what is making you angry, DBZ. That's probably only tangentially related, and doesn't really matter in the long run. What Turgon suggested above is much better, i.e. what are you going to do about it?
 

fabric

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I couldn't see where he made sense. Had I been in that situation, I'd be dead quickly. Remember Laura's great article on transmarginal inhibition by Pavlov? The dogs that stopped fighting survived the holocaust, including Frankl

You read the book but none of it made sense? If there was absolutely nothing that you gained from anything in the book after all these years is a bit surprising to hear. However, that’s only assuming that you are actually interested in working towards becoming better than you were yesterday, as the saying goes. So, are you?

In any case, there are many wise and meaningful things that can be said by those who may turn out to be not so great in the end – we are all human (or at least incarnate) and thus subject to our flaws. However even that article you posted, the writer had an opportunity to talk to Frankl himself but chose not to. So what does that say about him? Was he really burning after the truth, or just caught up his own ‘righteous anger’? (he admits it was the latter).

Gurdjieff turned out to be not as enlightened as we had hoped (and by extension Ouspensky) but does that devalue his message and what we learned from it? Why should it be different with Frankl? Should Peterson turn out to be a terrible person, do we discount that too? Even some of the things Jung said had value (at least for me), even if he had intended something different with them. Do you always throw out the baby with the bathwater?


You tell me that there's no religion behind his beliefs on how to survive, despite he wasn't actually in the same conditions as the general population.


I don’t recall anyone explicitly saying that (it’s seems to be a given that it is implicit) but I don’t see how that’s bad either, and in fact is a necessary component. Yes, there is a difference between blind belief and what we could perhaps call ‘faith’ but in either respect, we can derive meaning from it, as Yas had kindly pointed out.

You’re a member of FotCM right? How does your view and attitude towards the world fit in with your beliefs, thus your religion (assuming they are alignment with principles outlined as such?) If there is a misalignment, how would you go about rectifying it? Or perhaps you don’t see any misalignment (as evidence by your most recent response). In that case there is nothing much anyone else can do except suffer your wrath anytime things don’t go your way...


I'm going to write in the swamp about what I found the anger to be from. It's helping me feel better as a person and I noticed that my anxiety/slight depression is gone.

Ok, it's one thing to write about your anger but it’s quite another to take responsibility for your behavior. Do you really think that writing about how it made you feel better as a person (nevermind how it made others feel along the way) is really the way to do that? Seems kinda of self-centered to me, but maybe something useful will come out of it.

Something else that I don’t quite understand is how your anger removed your anxiety/depression. It can often be the case that people get depressed or anxious is because of the anger, particularly men. Not the other way around. Even if I’m misreading and the thing that is the source of the anger is also improving your anxiety/depression that’s still not good! If you can’t get a grip on it, then people eventually don’t want to have anything to do with you. Is that what your really want for yourself?
 

Chu

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I'm going to write in the swamp about what I found the anger to be from. It's helping me feel better as a person and I noticed that my anxiety/slight depression is gone.
It's connected to many of these things and explains it better without needing to argue individual things.

I agree with others. It doesn't matter that something (especially anger, and they way you have been manifesting it) is making you FEEL better as a person. The question is whether objectively or not, you ARE becoming a better person or not, and how much responsibility you are taking. For that, you have to be willing to question everything, accept feedback, and do something about it. Your posts so far don't reflect much of that, but maybe it will be clearer when you share in the swamp, assuming it's not an attempt for you to avoid all the recent feedback and find more excuses.
 

Chu

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Ironically, a lot of what Viktor Frankl wrote about would be really good advice for you to take on board, BdZ. Here are a few quotes:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

“What is to give light must endure burning.”

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

More here: Viktor E. Frankl Quotes (Author of Man's Search for Meaning)
 

Bobo08

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DBZ, I wonder if you have done any NeurOptimal sessions? If not, would you try it?

You can read from the thread about it that it has helped a lot of forum members. But of course, you have to want to be helped, to be helped.
 

Laura

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Interesting news item on this topic: Holocaust survivors outlive Jews who avoided Nazi death camps

Mountains of research has documented the health problems suffered by Holocaust survivors but a new study has found that, despite this, people who survived the Nazi death camps live longer than those who were spared the atrocities. ...

The paper says it is conceivable that the “Darwinist ability to survive” among those who lived through the Holocaust was associated with favorable resilience despite the enduring health consequences they suffer.
 

thorbiorn

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Thank you for sharing. I have previously been very surprised by the reality that some of the soldiers who endured years of terrible sufferings while fighting on the Eastern front during WW2, or those who were exposed to years in the Gulag camps of cold Siberia, still ended up living long lives. Perhaps one explanation could be that those who were not so strong mentally or genetically or fortunate died before the end of the war/ the end of the Gulag thus leaving a pool of very strong people, who whether surviving a concentration camp, a cruel war, or a long prison sentence on a poor diet carried on living propelled into the future as even stronger people.
 

Aeneas

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I
Thank you for sharing. I have previously been very surprised by the reality that some of the soldiers who endured years of terrible sufferings while fighting on the Eastern front during WW2, or those who were exposed to years in the Gulag camps of cold Siberia, still ended up living long lives. Perhaps one explanation could be that those who were not so strong mentally or genetically or fortunate died before the end of the war/ the end of the Gulag thus leaving a pool of very strong people, who whether surviving a concentration camp, a cruel war, or a long prison sentence on a poor diet carried on living propelled into the future as even stronger people.

Perhaps certain genes were turned on due to the stresses that the bodies were under as described by Perry Marshall in Evolution 2.0
 

Renaissance

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I'm going to write in the swamp about what I found the anger to be from. It's helping me feel better as a person and I noticed that my anxiety/slight depression is gone.
It's connected to many of these things and explains it better without needing to argue individual things.

I wouldn't put too much stock in thinking you've already got a handle on this. If what you mention was a very recent thing over the past couple days, as in a sudden realization, such things generally aren't enough to fundamentally change your thinking and behavior. If it's something that you've come to realize some time ago, it's evident that it wasn't enough to have changed your thinking and behavior. It seems more like a narrative which can divert feedback just the same as 'arguing every point'. Perhaps simply acknowledging your anger/miserable behavior has had some beneficial results, but it could also be a deceptive maneuver of your predator's mind. Could be a combination of things. I think a thread in the swamp could potentially be a good start, and maybe try engaging with the individual points people have brought up instead of explaining your anger, arguing, justifying, etc.
 

Hi_Henry

The Living Force
Interesting thread but misdirected.
Is It OK to Criticize a Saint? On Humanizing Viktor Frankl
A Reply to My Critics
Posted Mar 31, 2017

Thanks DBZ for pointing me to this article. There is a second article by Dr. Pytell which is a follow up to the one you linked. That one has some eye opening information :-(

The above motivated me to do some digging into this subject and I came across a psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. Very enlightening men, in some ways ahead of his time. In his book ,
Suicide Prohibition: The Shame of Medicine
By Thomas Szasz

he picks up the issue of Frankl and his experimentation during the war. In Google Books it is possible to read the relevant section. What I read on page 59 simply disgusts me. Here is the fragment,

When, in order to avoid deportation to concentration camps, patients had overdosed on sleeping pills and subsequently had been given up for dead by other doctors, Frankl felt justified in attempting relatively novel brain surgery techniques.

"First, some injections intravenously . . . and if this didn't work I gave them injections into the brain . . . into the Cisterna Magna. And if that did not work I made a trepanation, opened the skull inserted drugs into the ventricle and made a drainage so the drug went into the Aquaeductus Sylvii. . . . People whose breathing had stopped suddenly started breathing again."

But he could only keep them alive for twenty-four hours, no longer. Frankl's drugs of choice were the amphetamines Pervitin [methamphetamine] and Tetrophan [a derivative of acridine, with no known medical use or value].“

A quote from Frankl's book.
When a person finds that it is their destiny to suffer, they will have to accept their suffering as their task; their single and unique task. They will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering they are unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve them of their suffering or suffer in their place. Their unique opportunity lies in the way in which they bear their suffering.

Frankl's "unique" methods to "help" people in the first quote coupled with his ruminations on Suffering in the second has me wondering what was driving him to write those words. One can interpret them in a variety of ways, c'est la vie.

Nevertheless I disagree with what he says there. When you are in pain you are NOT "alone in the universe". It is NOT your "destiny" to suffer. Reading those sentences I get the impression that someone is telling me to "just suffer". It is "out task" to suffer ? Not it is not. Our task is to find ways to stop suffering and not meditate on the idea that you must. I can just imagine how I would feel if someone gave me such advice as found in that quote. Gosh, it would simply be a call to Liberation.

Then we have "No one can relieve them." Well I beg to differ. Someone can always find ways to help someone in their suffering. They might even find a way to completely eliminate the suffering. The words above are almost an excuse to do nothing if someone is suffering.

A quote from Frankl's book.
In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. . . . As the inner life of the prisoner tended to become more intense, he also experienced the beauty of art and nature as never before. . . . Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent. . . . Suffering had become a task on which we did not want to turn our backs. We had realized its hidden opportunities for achievement.
:-O I wonder who falls into the category "we". From my readings life in the camps was a dog eat dog 24/7 environment.
Existence in the Camp on page 401 we can read,
Another Communist strongholds at Buchenwald was the prison hospital. Its staff was composed almost 100 per cent of German Communists. The Army investigators found that: Hospital facilities were largely devoted to caring for members of the Communist Party. All scarce drugs(and many were scarce at Buchenwald) were reserved for Communist patients, and hospital food was available for members of the Party even if not absolutely necessary.

Anti-Communists, when they became ill, were left largely without care. Another of the Communist citadels
was the Food Supply organization. The Army men learned: "Favorite groups received reasonable rations
while others were brought to the starvation level."
Hunger, cold, beatings, inmate criminals in charge of administration , etc... and one can "experienced the beauty of art and nature as never before" ? That last part for sure but I have my doubts about the rest. Maybe a Buddhist monk would have been capable of reaching such state but I doubt the average prisoner got anywhere close to it.

My position on this matter of "Sainthood" is that IF someone steps onto "The Public Stage" then they are open for scrutiny (in an Ideal World). From my observation, the space of open and honest scrutiny is very fluid. Let me be blunt, there are sacred cows which can not be criticize, period. The frequent rational for this being, "Who do you think you are ?"

The information provided in the article I think is very relevant because it is factual. It is information that in general is not available to the vast majority of people. Is it relevant or not is a another question which in the end is just a personal opinion. For me it might be highly interesting whereas for someone else it will be completely irrelevant. That is a personal choice we make and it should be respected by others. But we do not live in an Ideal World. With every passing day it is becoming more and more obvious to people that we live in a Fake Information World where scrutiny is highly frowned upon if it is not in sync with the MSM themes. Not good.

Prior to the 1970's (there about) few knew that Wernher von Braun was a SS-Sturmbannführer and a Nazi Party card carrying member. Wernher was lauded as the Father of the US Space Program, a Saint. I am certain that if Germany had won the War this "Saint" would have developed his rockets to carry bigger and more destructive bombs to drop on cities all over the globe. Something along the lines of what we see in "The Man in High the Castle".

To me the above information about "Saint" Wernher is highly relevant in understanding who he was. In my case it lead me to conclude that he was a criminal who "obtained" officially sanctioned absolution. He continued to be the same Wernher that wore those Hugo Boss designed SS uniforms while sending his V-2 rockets onto London. That "absolution" he got never changed who he was and what he did to people during the WW II. Without knowing his more detailed" history one could rightly conclude that what I am saying is heresy. :-)

As far as I am concerned, I have no problem with throwing out the baby with the bathwater in the case of Mr. Frankl. And no, I am not angry.
 

Joe

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No one here said Frankl was a "saint". DBZ posting an article that describes Frankl as such and then "takes him down" is, therefore, something of a straw man argument. Frankl had useful and objective insights on human nature and human life. That's about it. It's interesting how when someone is as angry at life as DBZ seems to be, there must always be a target (or targets) for 'revenge' that serves as a stand-in for life. In this case, the target had to be first falsely elevated to "sainthood" to then "expose" him - and thereby life - as inherently false. This is all about DBZ's inner state and nothing to do with Frankl.
 
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